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September 03, 2004

Room clearing.

Click the pic for hi-res.

In this post, Nicholas of Quotulatiousness offered this comment:

Ah, yes, the Sten. Best room-clearing device since the Mills bomb. Just put in a fresh magazine, cock the bolt and throw it into the room. Oh, and make sure you're behind something bullet-resistant. Fortunately, by the time I was issued a sub-machine gun, they'd upgraded to the Stirling SMG instead, so I never had the opportunity to find out if this was actually true from first-hand experience.

This comment isn't as silly as it sounds (though I'd argue the penetrative capacity of the 9mm round... but Kim du Toit does it sooo much better). The Stirling has a positive safety on the grip that interrupts the ability of the trigger to trip the sear. The Sten does not. The Sten has the same kind of safety that the MP40 has - a notch in the receiver. That's it. In firing configuration, it looks like this.

So, it *is* theoretically possible to load it, cock it, and toss it in the room. But - not only does it have to hit on the butt (gotta move the bolt to the rear) it has to hit hard enough to move the bolt back against the spring with enough force to hit the back of the notch and move down into the full slot - and the sear has to be worn enough to not stop the bolt on it's movement forward (notice how the bolt in the second picture is stopped forward of the notch). A weapon in that bad a shape probably was a candidate for replacement or refurbishment anyway... Doesn't mean it didn't happen - but it would take a soldier brave stupid enough to throw away his weapon hoping for a little blessing (actually, a large blessing) from the Gods of Statistics, who are a famously fickle bunch. I'll stick with a Mills Bomb.

Anybody got good stories about it being used this way - especially published ones, I'd love to hear them! And to meet the man who did it - especially on purpose!